If the purpose of the defense in the Corona impeachment trial in presenting its second witness, Demetrio Coronado Vicente, was to render the prosecution, the senator-judges and the public dazed, they succeeded.
I, myself, got dizzy trying to understand the somewhat disorganized business transaction between him and Maria Cristina Corona, wife of Chief Justice Renato Corona. I gave up when Presiding Judge Juan Ponce-Enrile asked him about tax declarations and Vicente replied, “I don’t know.”
To be fair, Vicente seemed sincere. Even guileless. And trusting.
It would be unfair to accuse him of knowingly acting as the Corona’s dummy. Maybe,taken advantaged of.
Vicente, second cousin of Corona, was testifying on his purchase of seven-parcels of land from Corona’s wife, Maria Cristina and her sister Miriam.
The seven parcels of land are part of the 45 lots that the prosecution said the chief justice owns before the start of trial.The prosecution later corrected the figure to 24 parcels of land, six of them parking lots.
Vicente said he bought the 3,400 square meter property in Marikina from the Roco sisters (Maria Cristina and Miriam) for P1,018,000 in 1990.
The payment,which he made through a manager’s check, came from the sale of his other properties that he sold for P3.5 million.
Vicente said he owns the property because he holds the absolute deed of sale. Yet, he also said he does not hold the title which is still in the name of Ma. Cristina Roco Corona.
He said the reason the title is not yet in his name is because he does not have enough money to pay for the transfer tax which could cost him P200,000.
Enrile asked him if he has a child. He said he has a daughter in Kuwait.
The prosecution, in a press briefing, asked what would happen if something happens to Vicente and the title is still with Mrs. Corona. How could the daughter claim the property.
Vicente described his relation with Corona as “kinakapatid” (almost like a brother). “My father is his ninong. His mother is my ninang in my wedding,” he said. But he said they haven’t seen each other for 20 years except last Jan. 20 when the Corona couple asked for the original copy of the deed of sale of the property.
Vicente also related that he, accompanied by Mrs. Corona, went to Makati City to have the deed of sale notarized by a certain Atty. Ma. Beatrice Montoya.
Private prosecutor Jose Justiniano showed a certification that Montoya does not have the authority to be a notary public in Makati City.
At 6:45 p.m,Vicente was discharged from the witness stand. To everybody’s relief.